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A Relationship in Limbo: Challenges, Dynamics and Perspectives of Kosovo’s Integration into NATO

Abstract

Since its declaration of independence Kosovo has clearly postured itself towards Euro-Atlantic integration with NATO, keeping its door open towards Western Balkan states. This integration process faces major challenges stemming from different dimensions: NATO’s internal unity and its stance towards Kosovo’s political status having direct impact in consensual decision making processes; current geopolitical tensions from a global perspective, particularly between the West and Russia; and Kosovo’s ability to fulfil NATO’s standards and criteria. These challenges might prove very difficult to overcome at least in the current global political and security environment. The objective of this paper is to discuss from legal and geopolitical perspectives the relations between Kosovo and NATO and the challenges, dynamics and perspective of NATO opening a formal integration process for Kosovo.

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Russia and the Ukrainian Crisis: A Multiperspective Analysis of Russian Behaviour, by Taking into Account NATO’s and the EU’s Enlargement

Abstract

This article will explain why Russia annexed Crimea and is destabilizing eastern Ukraine. To do this, three different theoretical approaches on various levels of analysis will be used. It will be examined how far the expansion of NATO, as well as that of the European Union (Theory of Neorealism), was a motive for Russia’s action. NATO’s enlargement is analysed predominantly. In addition, politicalpsychological motivations of the Russian leadership are considered. But it is also analysed whether Russia’s pure power interests have played a role (Theory of Realism). The focus here is on the Russian naval base in Crimea. It is necessary to examine whether preserving its fleet in the Black Sea was a motive for Moscow to annex the Crimean peninsula.

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Stability, Ambiguity and Change in the Discourses of NATO allies in the Black Sea region: The Cases of Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey

Abstract

Shortly after the Crimea crisis of March 2014, NATO started a process of strategic reflection and a series of actions under the umbrella of the ‘Pivot to East’. On the South of its Eastern flank, the Black Sea region looms as one of the most unstable areas, with a number of frozen conflicts in non-NATO countries as well as an increasing unrest overall. This article explores the political discourses, commitments and attitudes towards NATO of the three allies at the Black Sea, namely Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, as well as exploring their role in regional security. The purpose of the research is to compare NATO’s representation in the mainstream politics of these countries. Based on discourse analysis and the comparative method, the paper examines to what extent stability, ambiguity and change are present in the Southeast allies’ discourses on NATO.

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UNsatisfied? The Rocky Path to NATO Membership – Bosnia and Herzegovina: A New Approach in Understanding the Challenges

Abstract

NATO’s enlargement in the Western Balkans (WB) has been the focus of a number of debates for almost two decades. Opinions and positions regarding this question range from serious doubts, criticisms and opportunistic press releases to enthusiastic support for membership. This paper assesses Bosnian reforms and policy changes, as well as the country’s efforts to join NATO. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) has made significant steps in moving towards NATO’s military and political standards, but not sufficiently. Although BiH is viewed by some observers as a country approaching the point of joining the Membership Action Plan (MAP), this prospect remains uncertain. The findings of this research suggest that BiH is different from other WB countries and that it is not suitable for understanding the NATO integration challenges in the WB. In order to understand Bosnian ‘specifics’, it is necessary not only to view the challenges through the prism of technical and other domestic issues in BiH. A wider approach must be adopted. Through understanding the Bosnian specifics, the dilemmas related to the NATO membership of BiH become more obvious and clear. Bosnian specifics illustrate why BiH is not able to take significant steps towards long-term stabilization and NATO membership.

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Administration or Federation? Constitutional Self-Image and the World Political Order in Which the EU Finds Itself

Abstract

In this article, I compare constitutional and administrative models in terms of their implications for the EU legal order’s interaction with other legal regimes. I aim to make a twofold argument on the implications of the EU’s constitutional self-image to the world political order. First, as the CJEU adopts an identity-centred strong constitutionalist position on the Union’s external relations, it implicitly frames the EU legal order’s interaction with other legal regimes as in a federated order. Yet the strong political implications of federation are likely to bring about more inter-regime conflicts and provoke reactions from Member States. Second, I provide a critique of the administrative model in the light of GAL’s intervention in inter-regime relations, suggesting a post-identity constitutional alternative in times of crisis. Freed from the value-laden concept of constitutional identity, but without de-constitutionalizing itself, the EU can have the benefits of both the constitutional and administrative models by moving towards a weak-form constitutional order. In the event, the debate, as to whether to conduct the EU’s external relations according to the constitutional or the administrative model, is misconceived.

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Can the EU’s constitutional framework accommodate democratic politics?

Abstract

The robustness of the EU’s constitutional framework – and its ability to accommodate democratic politics – is challenged as never before. The growing disconnect between formally democratic procedures and substantive choice is well illustrated by the Greek crisis. Since its first bailout in May 2010, Greece has held four general elections and a referendum. Yet, the anti-austerity preferences of the Greek electorate have not been effectively translated into policy.

This article uses the Greek crisis to analyse the EU’s democratic deficit, and the related issue of the locus of legal and political sovereignty in the EU. It argues that the EU’s constitutional framework is not sufficiently responsive to changing material conditions or to the changing preferences of Europeans. Thus, EU constitutionalism needs to be refashioned in order to strike a better balance between democratic and technocratic governance, as well as between the needs of individual citizens, national citizenries, and states.

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Constitutional and administrative paradigms in judicial control over EU high and low politics

Abstract

This article explores the particular tensions surrounding judicial review in EU external relations. The tensions are classified using a two-dimensional framework. Firstly, a distinction based on policy domains of high and low politics, which is derived from constitutional theory, and external to the CJEU; and secondly a distinction based on legitimizing paradigms of administrative (EU as effective global actor) or constitutional (judicial review as guarantee of fundamental rights) in character and determined by the Court itself. Even though one would expect a dominance of the administrative paradigm in the domain of high politics, the Court uses both the administrative and the constitutional paradigm in its external relations case-law. The decision on which of these becomes the guiding frame seems to depend more on the policy domain, and be made case by case, which suggests politically sensitive adjudication, rather than a coherent approach to legitimizing the nascent judicial review in EU external relations.

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The Functions of Constitutional Identity Performed in the Context of Constitutionalization of the EU Order and Europeanization of the Legal Orders of EU Member States

Abstract

This article provides an analysis of the functions performed by constitutional identity in constitutional discourses of both the EU and its Member States, in the context of emerging post-Westphalian and supranational constitutionalism. The analysis tries to demonstrate that constitutional identity may serve as one of the key normative ideologies, legitimation strategies and ordering schemes of EU constitutionalism. It reasserts through functional analysis the suitability of constitutional identity for organizing and explaining multiple constitutional orders in a non-hierarchical and inclusive way.

The article is based on a socio-legal approach, deliberately avoiding the predominant legal realist and legal positivist discourses. This is due to the fact that a functional analysis presupposes admitting the existence of ideal, legal and socio-legal dimensions of constitutional concepts and institutions and the taking into account of social implications produced by their functioning. The article deliberately takes a constitutionalist stance on the EU and the EU integration. It is focused on the contribution of constitutional identity for the further constitutionalization of the EU from a socio-political and constitutionalist perspective.

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How to Bridge the Gaps between Competing Paradigms for EU Law: An Introduction

Abstract

For the first time since its creation, the European Union (EU) has been living its probably most significant identity crisis. This crisis has its roots in different critical situations that have hit the EU, have affected its functioning and have fundamentally questioned its legitimacy. The gaps in the EU integration process have been uncovered and the fragmentation of EU policies has become a source of different risks.

On the anniversary of sixty years of the Rome Treaties, this Special Issue aims to reflect on the paradigms for EU law looking beyond their competing accounts of EU integration. The analysis is developed through a series of contributions that challenge the paradigms in different directions. The discussion is articulated on two levels. On the one hand, a group of contributions focuses on the historical and legal analysis of the emergence and transformation of the EU legal order. These contributions delve deeper into the absence of a European identity and go beyond the inherent critique that the EU is a demoi-cracy that struggles with a democratic disconnect or even deficit. On the other hand, other contributions debate paradigms and their implementation in important policy domains. These contributions aim to give a more practical perspective on the constitutional and/or administrative character of the European Union, showing its implications and concrete questions.

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The Interpretive Function of the CJEU and the Interrelationship of EU and National Levels of Consumer Protection

Abstract

This paper analyses the ways in which the Unfair Contract Terms and Unfair Commercial Practices Directives try to steer a path between imposing a common European standard and allowing national variation. The open wording of the norms and safeguard clauses in both directives allows room for their flexible application. The differentiated role between the Court of Justice, as the interpreter of European law, and the national courts, as the party that applies it, provides a release valve to prevent any direct clashes and allows a subtle way for national perspectives to be reflected.

The analysis finds that, irrespective of the underlying level of harmonisation, and with the backing of the European legislator’s intention of ensuring a high level of consumer protection, the CJEU is gradually painting the average European consumer with more realistic features. Here, the case law of the CJEU fulfils a bridging function between the labelling requirements in the Foodstuff Regulation, the transparency requirements in the Unfair Contract Terms Directive and the informed decision requirements in the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive. In these three domains the CJEU recognises that the level of customer attention may be suboptimal, even in the presence of comprehensive and correct information.

The CJEU’s approach contributes to more convergence in consumer protection throughout the EU. Yet, in terms of legitimacy, it must be noted that in all cases the CJEU has maintained a clear distinction between interpretation and application. The particular constitutional legal order in which the CJEU operates only allows for a process whereby the contours of a more coherent European consumer protection policy are gradually revealed. In the absence of sufficient legislative guidance at the European and national levels, national courts may be increasingly informed by the case law of the CJEU in an effort to establish clearly desirable common expectations. Those who believe that, in practice, uniformity can be achieved overnight by simply adopting a common maximum norm appear over-optimistic.

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